Rugby Championship: South Africa withdraw from southern hemisphere event

Rugby Championship: South Africa withdraw from southern hemisphere event”

"An SA Rugby spokesperson said that speculation in the media that the Springboks were to be withdrawn from the Castle Lager Rugby Championship had been noted".

South Africa's decision to withdraw entirely is expected to be attributed to player welfare concerns and uncertainty surrounding government travel regulations amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, though the latter is believed to have been progressing positively.

There has been widespread concern in South Africa's rugby community that their players are a long way from being ready for the intensity of the competition.

At one point, South Africa had the fifth highest virus caseload in the world and has almost 700,000 confirmed cases. At the weekend the South African union had said it would make the decision early this week.

"Sanzaar will provide an update on the resolution of these discussions and a timetable for the Springboks participation in The Rugby Championship when available in the coming days", the governing body added. However, the Pumas are already in Australia and say they will play.

While New Zealand and Australia have completed their Super Rugby spinoffs and met in a Bledisloe Cup test, most of the Springboks have played just three competitive games since March, when the country went into a strict virus lockdown.

Plumtree, who has both played and coached in the republic, admitted he sympathised with South Africa's plight. I guess that was one of the major contributing factors.

The Springboks at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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"Hopefully we'll still get to see them, even if they don't make the start". For them to come down here, if they don't feel like they're ready, they're not going to put that on the line. That's who you want to play.

"This is a hugely disappointing outcome for supporters and commercial partners but the ongoing impacts of the pandemic. mean we are unable to deliver a Springbok team without seriously compromising player welfare, apart from other logistical challenges", SARU chief executive Jurie Roux said in a statement issued with SANZAAR.

Attempts were made to ensure that the Springboks would not have to arrive in Australia, where the Rugby Championship will be hosted, until three weeks after originally planned but South Africa remain adamant that they do not have enough time to prepare for the tournament.

Previous year the Springboks won the Rugby Championship for the fourth time, finishing with two wins and a draw in a shortened competition due to the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks' non-participation would likely to hit all parties in the pocket, with South Africa Rugby likely to bear the brunt of it.

They will also suffer a considerable financial blow with SA Rugby standing to lose a reported 300 million rand ($18 million/15.5 million euros) by not taking part.

Sanzaar would have to go back to the negotiation table with broadcasters, who identified a six-week block of double headers as their preferred format for the tournament.

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